I find myself feeling more frequently thinking “this is the new normal.”
“This” referring to how I get around (bus, train, cab, bike).
No maroon Odyssey.
I may briefly sigh, but then I wake up and smell the coffee.
I hear the horns honking, see the cars flying around on the sidewalks, and see the people walking in the streets. And the donkeys, 3 wheeled dealies carrying mountains of wares that I’d have to avoid.
And think about the ginormous insurance fees for foreigners who own cars and risk of being accused of a wreck that I’m all avoiding by not driving.
This is the new normal.
Like the day I had picked to cycle to Ikea and buy the $20 highchair dawned with pouring rain that didn’t let up all day, and I just put on my rainboots and poncho anyway and pedaled the 1/2 hour across town and got soaking wet.
And when I squeezed onto a tightly packed bus (after 2 superfull ones didn’t even open their doors to let more people on) on my way home, feeling very anonymous (only because no kids were with me).
“This” also referring to embarking on a suddenly familiar cycle of events, which involves getting Meng Yuan (daughter #2) another school physical (including blood drawn from the ear) for kindergarten.
Last year it was wholly traumatic (https://chopstixplease.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/first-day-of-school-prelude/); this year it went smooth as silk. I think.
I have since last July learned some lessons about being bold enough to keep our place in line.
One grandmother, always smiling at me, kept on sticking her arm right past my neck to sneak in line for every checkpoint at the health clinic, and I just as smilingly made sure she did not succeed in what I, with my set of cultural values, would call “cutting in line.”
I also have learned that everyone is routinely told to fast for every single blood test regardless of whether it is necessary, so I did not make my daughter skip breakfast since I knew the bloodwork for this test would not be affected by breakfast (hemoglobin).
“This” meaning I can order a meal on the phone and have it delivered (and it’s maybe what I thought it would be)!
“This” meaning the kids don’t usually scream when strangers talk to them and tousle their hair.
And at least 4 people (2 of whom I don’t know) will ask me where the kids are whenever I go out without them.
And “this” meaning we are thoroughly enjoying moments with friends and sharing our hearts.
I guess I”m talking about community.
We’re slowly integrating into our new world, in our own glass house sort of way.